Sunday, 30 August 2009

Family ties?

I have long known that I have German relations, but more recently I have begun to wonder if they lie a little closer than "by marriage". One thing that has sparked this thought is the Genographic Surbey and Family Tree DNA project to which I submitted a DNA sample. It has turned up the fact that genetically I am a European, I have the typically Western European Haplotype (R1b1) and the dominant end Y Marker M343. This means I belong to the human group that migrated along the edge of the Ice Sheet covering Northern Russia and Europe and then down the west of Europe and the British Isles. Not surprisingly I have found a number of genetic matches (Or rather FT DNA have!) scattered across North Europe and the low countries. Some in Normandy, a lot in the UK and in Ireland. The genetic group is a major part of the Keltoi people - the Celts.

So I have been looking at my father's family line again. His mother's family name was Nielsen and it was always said that the family was Danish, but now I begin to wonder. In the time that he was born, Schleswig-Holstein was, at least partly, ruled by Denmark and he seems to have arrived in South Africa around the time of the big "German Settler" migration which was largely the Hanoverian Legion's soldiers who were given land grants in what is now called the Ciskei. He certainly settled and raised his family in an area that was strongly associated with that settlement. Sadly I do not have sufficient information at present to do a proper trace on him and his roots and the response from South Africa to any enquiry for Births/Deaths information meets with a total lack of response.

I shall have to track down my surviving cousins there and see if any of them can throw any more light on this.

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